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Partying like it's 1967 - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Partying like it's 1967
So here it is, the last full week of October, and the World Series is finally ready to begin- the Cardinals are facing the Red Sox.

For most Chowdah-heads, that evokes memories of 2004 and the final breaking of the long-standing Curse of the Bambino, but for me it harkens back to the first time in my lifetime those teams met in the Fall Classic, in 1967.

It wasn't their first October meeting- that was 1946, a seven-game Cardinal win most remembered for Enos "Country" Slaughter's scoring from first on a short hit in the decisive game- but it was the first Series I was witness to.  After a year of following the Mets for the first time (and having them celebrate my presence by falling back to last place), I spent the weekday afternoons of that series at the home of my friend Mark, who I knew from church and school and who invited me to watch with him. (I suspect it was so my mother wouldn't have to give up watching her "stories" on the tv.)

As it was 21 seasons before, the series again went seven. It's probably best remembered for the legendary pitchers duel involving Cardinal Bob Gibson and Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg. I say "involving" because until the final game, they pitched a day apart, Gibby winning Games 1 and 4 and Lonborg 2 and 5.  The final matchup brought Lonborg back to Fenway on two days' rest; clearly a day too little, as the Sox surrendered 7 runs while Gibson only scattered three hits in a complete-game continuation of the Curse.

Watching this, on NBC under the tutelage of Jim Simpson and Sandy Koufax, was as profound an education as this third-grader ever got inside the classroom. After a season of the Mets being total jokes when running out Anyone But Seaver, this was Cirque de Soleil compared to Shriners climbing out of a clown car.  The preceding season had taught me the unconditional love of a team; this Series taught me the game as it was meant to be played.

Two Octobers later, the Mets were suddenly in that conversation, and won the argument loud and clear on another October fall afternoon. That one was in my own living room; Mom's soaps were gladly sacrificed to have me so happy. Thirty-five years after that, Boston and St. Louis renewed their own fall acquaintance, and the Sox finally eradicated the bad juju and did it in a sweep.

This year? I'm thinking seven like two of the preceding three meetings went. Much as I feel the Boston love around here, I suspect St. Louis has too much on the mound at all levels, especially with three games without a DH, so my best guess gives it to Beltran in his first-ever Series appearance.

----

That final 1967 classic matchup occurred on the afternoon of October 12. Nine days later, my family had another classic matchup, one that lasted over 20 years and produced more of a legacy than a bunch of balls on a diamond.  Sandy, my oldest sister, married the brother-in-law I went on to share a birthday with for almost 40 years. He died, two days short of his 70th birthday, which would have been that 40th.  But most of my memories today are about her; the bride she was, the mother she became, and the friend she will always be.

I try to remember three days every year here- her birthday in July, the anniversary of her passing in early October, and today.  Two weeks ago today was the 25th anniversary of that middle one- and I couldn't say a word, what with us dealing with the imminent passing of our older dog the following day.  My hope was to remedy that by visiting her gravesite last week; I'd been scheduled for court mere miles away, but at the last minute it got turned into a phone conference and that, as they say, was that.

So instead I'll use the occasion of her 46th anniversary to remember.

Not the wedding- although I was there, barely remembering it. Not all that much of the almost 21 years that followed, since I was first too young and then too far to have bonded much with those occasions. No, it's the family that's endured, in many different places and dynamics- here, in Binghamton, in Connecticut, and in Florida- that speak daily to the life that touched all of us, is connected to all of us, and will always be a part of all of us.

Today, then, is just as much a point of reference- and I share it with a lifetime of love and, now, three generations of family in this world who love Sandy even though some in those number never even met her.

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